Thursday, February 18, 2016



I’ll get back to books next week. This week, it’s more personal.

One of my friends in Portland died on Friday. Brian’d been sick for some time and even hospitalized for a stretch. I heard this mostly via Facebook and other people closer to him than I was. From what I’ve gathered is that he died of natural causes due to complications of the illness. He wasn’t much older than myself which hit closer to home that I’d normally be willing to admit. After I left Portland, I didn’t have much contact with my former group due to distance and that most of the members were/are private people.

I first met Brian via a website and a local meet-up of Portland peoples. We gathered for pizza and to talk about gaming. After it’d ended, a few of us moved to another place to have coffee and play games. This is where I was introduced to Apples to Apples and a little game called Chez Geek. I had a hoot of a time and started me down the path which crossed his a few years later.

Again, the gaming website came in play, as one of the member moved to Portland and ended up staying with Brian and his boyfriend at the time. We talked and she invited me over for their Friday evening gaming session. I played a couple of games and the one that stuck in my mind was Power Grid and Ticket to Ride. Nowadays they’re a bit old hat, but in those days, they were new as hell to me. I got to hang with some really cool people.

Brian, as it turned out, had a number of hobbies besides gaming. His interest and knowledge in prog rock rivaled many people and while he wasn’t the most outspoken of people, he had a passion of for it. He worked hard to include everyone and make the times were got together interesting. When I headed over to his place, there was usually something new on the gaming shelf and Brian was ready to explain the rules. He wanted to make sure that everyone had an even footing when we played. More times than not, he won, but not because he knew something we didn’t. He was just that good of a player and more often than not, a very unassuming one.

Brian suggested that I go to PAX with him and a couple of other guys. There I learned that Will Wheaton was a fantastic speaker and the joys of soaking in the eye candy of gaming. He knew all the cool little places to go for breakfast and introduced me to really good sushi for the first time. There were a lot of firsts thanks to Brian. I learned to grow in my outlook of people and found new enjoyment in the gaming hobby.

Thank you Brian for the little things. They’re the ones that mean the most even if I didn’t understand them at the time.

You’ll be missed by everyone you touched.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reading - February 2016 Edition

So, February. RadCon is this weekend, which I'll be missing due to logistical reasons. Next year, I hope to make a return trip and sit on some panels again. I've enjoyed the three times I've been there in the past. It's very much a fan run con and it never fails to entertain with the little eccentricities that appear. And for whatever reason, the hotels' restaurant is always understaffed and getting food there is a giant pain in the arse.

My reading list isn't overly full at the moment, but I have a couple of interesting reads in progress. First is Blacksad, a graphic novel translated and put out by Dark Horse Comics. It's best described as a Noir detective with anthropomorphic characters. The protagonist is John Blacksad, a hardboiled private investigator who spends a lot of time in trouble and getting his ass kicked by goons. The artwork is fantastic, being painted and not just inked. The writing is superb and engrosses from the get go. I had a hard time putting it down after the first story. I highly recommend people taking a look at it.

The other one is Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. This is also a graphic novel by Dark Horse comics. A group of dogs [and one cat] band together to prevent their town from being overrun by evil. It's bit of horror mystery mixed with adventure and humor along the way. A fair bit of attention is given to the animals to make them stand out with quirks and some of the obstacles they encounter. Not having opposable thumbs is a disadvantage when you're dealing with demonic frogs and the raising of the dead. Another recommended read for people looking for something a bit less harsh.

The plague is sweeping through the office the last few weeks and I've managed to dodge the worst of it [so far]. This week's busy with a major restock order and some changes in responsibilities. I need to come up with a way to better organize my time if only to make me feel like I have a handle on things. My buddy told me of a cheese bar in the Hipster side of Seattle, which we're going to check out in the evening.

Word count so far this month in 7,662 or 85% on my target as of yesterday. I have more than enough time to catch up.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


I like games. I work at a company that sells games as a purchasing assistant. I own more games than I’ve played and the queue just keeps getting bigger. Right now, I’m knee-deep in multiple video games with more on the horizon that’re going to demand my time.

My current addiction is a little 2-D, side-scrolling, rogue-like called Dark Dungeon. To be upfront, it’s not my normal fare in gaming. Death is permanent, the difficulty gives a new meaning to the word hard, and RNGesus loves to come in and kick you repeatedly. But there’s a story in the game, some excellent narration by Wayne June, and a graphic style that reminds me a lot of Hellboy. There’s a lot to love about the game. I’ve racked up triple digits in the game, since you can log in, play 30 minutes at a stretch, and then leave. It’s a nice little time killer.

The big one in my current playlist is Fallout 4. It’s a franchise that caught my interest way back in the day when it was going to be based on GURPS. The deal fell through because of the iconic Pip Boy artwork was deemed too silly [or so the story goes]. I had to upgrade the video card in my machine to get it running decently and while I’ve not huge amounts of time, I try to play a couple times a week. Again, we get back to the story and little things that make the series interesting. The main story isn’t the strongest and if Preston asked me one more time to help a settlement, I’m gonna scream. There’s other bits that make up including references to HP Lovecraft, getting the USS Constitution up and running again, and some seriously messed up bits if you explore off the beaten path. Not to spoil anything, but there’s a cabin in the woods near Sanctuary Hills with a skeleton, mattress, and a diary. It was depressing to say the least. Thank you Bethesda. You put out a buggy game and manage to make me come back for the little things to find.

X-Com 2 drops tomorrow, another series that I’ve played since the first installment. I didn’t get the reboot until it’d been out a year and then played it like no one’s business. I love the new story, the single base aspect, and listening posts aka satellites. That’s what I did in the original game and it works well. I’m looking forward to playing it once I get done with everything else on the list. I believe that the new DOOM is due out this year for more first person shooting goodness.

Sitting mostly untouched in my queue is Sub-Nautica, Tales of the Borderlands, and Shadowrun: Hong Kong.  I got those for Christmas off my Steam wish list from folks and they beckon me to play. I’m running up against not enough time again. The solution is dedicating a chunk of time to play them like I do with my writing. Set aside an hour to play something and a few extra on the weekend. There’s raiders to kill and ghouls to blast. The Commonwealth isn’t going to save itself.